Fantasy Flight Games
Let’s face it, the combat system is rarely the most interesting part of a boardgame. Fantasy Flight’s latest Star Wars game Outer Rim does not appoint in that regard: you roll dice at each other, highest damage wins. So yeah, I’m unimpressed with the combat system, but I’m still excited for the game as a whole.
Plaid Hat Games
Here are the last two fighters from beat ’em up Super Punch Fighter. After the other previews, I thought those guys couldn’t get any weirder, and then they bring one that fights by throwing pigs at people and another one using his extensive collection of geek collectibles. I do appreciate that guy’s name: Tchotchke. That’s a severely underused word deserving of more attention.
Egizia is one of the classic eurogames. The 2009 game isn’t quite as old or famous as Catan, but it has many fans around the world. Part of its appeal is the simple principle. Players go down the Nile to collect resources and build monuments. Wherever one player puts their boat, the next player may only go downstream from there. Super simple in theory, but deciding if you go slow and visit many places or go quickly and force your opponents to skip interesting spots as well is tricky. It will be even trickier with Egizia: Shifting Sands, the updated, new edition from Stronghold Games. There will be new cards, a more variable river and, especially, new monuments to build. Be it the Colonnade and the special abilities it confers or the statues with their endgame bonuses and high building requirements, they’ll mix the game up for experienced Egizia players.
There are only 18 cards. Showing flowers. For you to make into bouquets. In a game called Tussie Mussie. I know, flowers aren’t very exciting and the name sounds silly, but don’t dismiss Tussie Mussie because of those details. Elizabeth Hargrave, who’s Wingspan was recently nominated for Kennerspiel des Jahres, can do a lot with 18 flower cards. First, you have a cut-and-choose mechanism going on where you pass two cards to another player, one face up, one face down, and they have to decide which they want. Lots of potential for mindgames there. And those 18 cards all have a different actions or scoring conditions to consider. Playing Tussie Mussie only takes about 15 minutes, but it’s anything but trivial.
With Watergate Frosted Games will release another political two-player game to be excited about. We all know about the Watergate scandal, of course: A botched break-in at the Watergate office complex reveals attempts to wiretap the Democratic National Committee and tireless Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein tied the whole thing back to then-president Richard Nixon, ultimately ending his career. In Matthias Cramer’s Watergate one player takes the role of the Washington Post editor, the other of Richard Nixon. Over multiple rounds they use cards to compete for a number of tokens. Most of those will end up on the evidence board where the Washington Post player wants to connect two informers directly to Nixon, and Nixon obviously tries to prevent that. Nixon is in a defensive position, if he can keep the Post from making the right connection for long enough, the game is his. With multi-use cards controlling a two-player game Watergate has some small small parallels to Wir sind das Volk!, but is a much shorter and more focused game. Great two-player fare for sure.
Chain-exclusives are a pet peeve of mine. Local game store exclusives? Great. You can only buy this game at Food Depot? Why do you hate your players??? And I shouldn’t even care, because outside of the US you’ll be able to get Pandemic: Rapid Response wherever you buy all your games. Pandemic: Rapid Response is something new in the Pandemic universe, a real-time game. This time, the players are members of the international Crisis Response Unit. They fly around the world in their military-grade cargo plain to deliver supplies to disaster-struck cities. Despite Pandemic: Rapid Response being a real-time game, players still have turns. They just have to take them quickly. On your turn you roll action dice up to three times and hope you get the actions you need. Actions include moving around the plane, producing supplies, and flying your big plane to the next disaster area. Not all that complicated, but you know how tough things get with the clock ticking.
Rio Grande Games
One of Rio Grande’s new projects, Caravan, is a quick and tactical route building game. You have a desert with goods and with cities that want those goods. Each player has six camels to move goods to cities. The problem is that loaded camels can’t move. To get the goods where they need to go you have to make a line of camels, then the goods can move from one end to the other. Be careful where you stash them, though, because stealing from other players is an option, too.
Tony Boydell (Snowdonia,…) can’t seem to get away from the Welsh Railway. He’s booked a return ticket there, together with Ben Bateson and Lookout Games, in Foothills. This time, the railway building is done by exactly two players, building six tracks. There are eight tracks in total, and the track cards come with different twists and extras, so different selections will change the game. Everything you do in Foothills you do by picking actions from your action cards, but after you take an action you flip the card over and there’s a different action on the back. That’s not all, though. You also want to put those same action cards into your score pile where you can probably guess what they’ll do, and replace them with different action cards. Foothills‘ theme may be similar to Snowdonia, but under the hood it’s new and sparkly.
This week’s featured photo, taken by Jasmine Halki, shows the Ethnographic Museum in Gjirokastra, Albania. Thanks for sharing this beautiful photo, Jasmine! (Ethnographic Museum, Gjirokastra, Albania, Jasmine Halki, CC-BY)